The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 16, 2013

Wheels & Wings kicks off big week

EBENSBURG — Those looking forward to Thunder in the Valley likely could start their celebration by heading to Ebensburg on Thursday.

Now in its ninth year, Wheels & Wings, set to run from 5 to 10 p.m., is, for many, a reason to come to the area a day early.

“It gets bigger and bigger each year. There are just waves of people,” said Kim Springer, owner of Kim Springer State Farm Insurance, 301 E. High St. “It’s amazing.”

Springer is the exclusive sponsor of the Wheels & Wings event, a significant financial commitment on her part.

“I love this community, and I’m glad to be able to help,” she said.

The evening will be all about the wings and motorized vehicles that move on two wheels, said Danea Koss, Ebensburg community development director.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring people to the area. It happens right before Thunder in the Valley,” Koss said. “It’s the kickoff, and a lot people get to see our town.”

Seventeen food vendors – one more than last year – will be on hand with some of the best wings in the region, event planners said.

While many of the restaurants and concessionaires come from within the county – including Ebensburg, Colver, Belsano and Patton – some are traveling from Altoona, Alexandria and Bellefonte.

“The rules are they must sell wings, but they can sell other things,” Koss said.

Breaking from past traditions, the focus of the evening’s events will be at Penn Eben Park rather than Veterans Park of past years.

Penn Eben is located in the heart of Ebensburg at West High and North Julian streets.

Food vendors will be located at Penn Eben Park and will stretch along Sample Street, Koss said.

An Ebensburg area band, Totem, will perform live rock music on Center Street from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

And the wheels part of the event, that which many motorcycle enthusiasts will be drawn to, will be a show of some of the region’s nicest cars, motorcycles and trucks, Koss said.

Placed on display in the downtown Ebensburg area, the vehicles will be judged and awards handed out in an number of categories.

Trophies will be handed out for the best special, cruising, and custom bike, while cars will be categorized as best of pre-1950s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and newer.

The vehicle show will be from 6 to 8 p.m. with award winners announced at 8:30 p.m.

For Springer, an Ebensburg native who took over the State Farm business of her father, David Springer, several years ago, the event is something she looks forward to all year.

One of her employees, Cindy Link, will help judge the wing contest, and Springer said she plans to just spend the evening hanging out with everyone.

“This brings an event to Ebensburg. It brings attention to Ebensburg and it helps these businesses,” she said. “I’m glad to be able to help.”

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